Places to Visit in South Wales

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There are plenty of interesting and beautiful places to visit in South Wales, I know most of them well, I grew up there. South Wales is an area with much to offer, beaches, history, culture, nightlife, and breathtaking scenery being just some of them.

Iconic places to see in South Wales
Iconic, best, most interesting places to see in South Wales. You can save this to Pinterest!

You can book a South Wales day-trip to see the sights from Cardiff here. To visit Wales from London multi-day trips are available like this one. The drive from London to the Welsh border is only 2-3 hours, so you would probably do better to hire a car. Use this car comparison tool to find the best price possible.

I love the area and it’s one of many I call home as a global travel blogger. Here are some highly recommended places to visit in South Wales, some you’ll know, some you won’t. Links lead to more detailed information on attractions, historical sites, museums and some of the best places to visit in South Wales.

Places to Visit in South Wales

In no particular order and with apologies if we missed your pick, here are some of our favourite places to visit in South Wales. This is a post I add to as we visit a new place that strikes us as beautiful or interesting, there is much more to come.

All information was correct at the time of writing, please double-check times and admissions as things can change.


Tenby Wales Fishing Harbour Pembokeshire

As I child I swam in summer seas among the boats of Tenby Harbour. As an adult I’d visit in winter, to enjoy the great restaurants and walk around this pretty little town.

I think Tenby is best in the winter when the sea is rough and the crowds have gone. These days Tenby hosts the Wales Iron Man in early Autumn. Read our coverage of Tenby Ironman Wales here.

If you’d like to take a trip to Tenby, Laugharne (Dylan Thomas Boat House), Llansteffan (castle and beach) and Amgueddfa Cyflymder – Museum of Land Speed at Pendine Sands, from Cardiff, you can easily book a tour here.

Tenby is about a 2-hour drive from Cardiff or about 4.5 hours to drive from London.

If you’d like to stay in Tenby, pick a hotel in the old town, within the walls, or an apartment with a view of the north beach and harbour. Try this apartment, it gets incredible reviews. Parking is very limited in Tenby and there are a lot more holiday cottages and apartments than hotels, but you will bind some traditional bed and breakfasts.

For a cheaper stay in the area, with better parking, go here. We stayed here for Ironman Wales because Tenby was fully booked. Book early!

Of course, the Pembrokeshire Coast Path is in this area too, it’s 186-mile long (299 km) National Trail with spectacular coastal scenery. It stretches from St Dogmaels in the north to Amroth in the south. The whole trail takes about 2 weeks, but you can easily walk stretches of it.

One of the most popular activities in Pembrokeshire is Coasteering

Barry Island

Things to do in South Wales. Barry Island Wales
Barry Island, the British seaside at its best in Wales.

I wrote a post about Barry Island, the home of Gavin and Stacey. It’s a classic British seaside town, great for walks and fish and chips in winter or beach activities in summer. I hear the Island is undergoing a massive face-lift right now, well worth another visit.

If you’re a fan, you can book a tour of the Gavin and Stacy filming locations on Barry Island. Do that here.

Barry Island has a beach, but there is much nicer coastline further west.

Caerleon’s Roman Ruins   FREE

Things to do in South Wales. Caerleon Wales Roman amphitheatre
The Roman amphitheatre, barracks, baths and museum in Caerleon, South Wales, make a great, educational day out with kids.

Everybody knows Bath. But did you know about the Roman ruins in Caerleon?

There is an amphitheatre, barracks, a Roman bath and parts of the Roman fortress walls are still standing.

While you’re in Caerleon you should check out some of the excellent pubs, try The Hanbury Arms on the River Usk, the building is over 400 years old.

If you’d like to stay in Caerleon, The Priory Hotel is beautiful.

Newport’s Transporter Bridge

Places to visit in Wales. The Transporter Bridge, Newport South Wales
The transporter bridge in Newport, Wales. Not quite one of a kind, but incredibly rare.

Twenty transporter bridges once existed, now only six are left in the whole world. The Transporter Bridge in Newport was still in operation at the time of writing, and worth the trip over the Severn Bridge to see. Read more about Newport’s transporter bridge here.

Castell Coch, Near Cardiff

Castell Coch. Things to do in South Wales. Near Cardii Castle

This fairy-tale castle, actually a Victorian folly,  sits atop Norman ruins on a hill just outside Cardiff. You can see straight away why it has been used as a set for TV and movies over the years, it’s absolutely beautiful.

Take a walk through the woods outside or enter to see the beautiful decorative artwork on walls and ceilings. There is a full post on Castell Coch here

Big Pit Mining Museum   FREE

Big Pit Mining Museum South Wales Places to Visit in South Wales UK

I’ve already posted about Big Pit, we visited almost by accident a couple of years ago (and again in 2023) and loved the place.

It’s got to be the most unusual museum I’ve ever visited.

You are taken on a tour of the mine, a disused coal mine, with head torches and helmets by real ex-miners. You can explore the old pit head baths and find out how hard life was for miners and their families.

Cardiff Bay   FREE

Cardiff Bay Wales. Things to do, places to visit in Wales,
Cardiff Bay is a must-visit for lovers of architecture, the sea, history and Whovians.

Cardiff Bay has it all, smart bars, restaurants, hotels, history and Doctor Who.

Roald Dahl place houses the iconic Torchwood Tower, a little further around the bay was the The Doctor Who experience, I took the kids, they loved it, click the link to read more.

You can book a cruise around Cardiff Bay here. For kids, the Techniquest science museum is on the bay, it’s fun and hands-on. The best hotel on Cardiff Bay is the St David’s Hotel. A cheaper option is this one.

 The Museum of Welsh Life Near Cardiff    FREE

Things to do in South Wales
Looking for things to do in South Wales? The Museum of Welsh Life near Cardiff is fantastic and free.

The Museum of Welsh Life is a fabulous, free attraction in the village of St Fagans near Cardiff. It’s wonderful that museums like this are free.

This collection of ancient Welsh buildings is a lovely place for a family walk at any time of year. See our post on The Museum of Welsh Life at St. Fagans for more detail and some great photos.

The Doctor Who Experience Cardiff

Cyber Man Cardiff Doctor Who Experience Wales

This Doctor Who exhibition started its run in London before relocating to its rightful home, Wales. The Doctor Who Experience building sits on Cardiff Bay and was well worth a visit.

We have a full post on the Wales Doctor Who Experience here, and on London Doctor Who Experience, here. Update – They closed it down – why would they do that?

St David’s Cathedral, Pembrokeshire

Pembrokeshire Wales St David's Cathedral
Stunning and absolutely a must-visit. St David’s Cathedral was founded by the Saint himself back in the 6th century and houses many fascinating historic relics.

At the far end of Pembrokeshire, you’ll find St David’s. Officially a city as it has a cathedral, but looking like a village, this ancient spot holds the most interesting cathedral I’ve ever visited.

Royal and religious history collide here and there is a treasure hunt for the children. Admission is by donation.

Back to our main Wales Travel Blog page. South Wales is great but also try and get west and further north. We also have a post on road trip into West Wales, from Tenby, Pembrokeshire to Cardigan Bay and Newquay Wales.

If you'd like to hire a car during your stay, use this car rental comparison tool to find the best deal!

We also suggest you take a look at this company to get a quote for all kinds of the more tricky adventure or extended travel insurance.

Try Stayz / VRBO for an alternative way to find rentals on homes/apartments/condos in any country!

About the author
Alyson Long
Alyson Long is a British medical scientist who jumped ship to chase dreams. A former Chief Biomedical Scientist at London's West Middlesex Hospital she started in website creation and travel writing in 2011. Alyson is a full-time blogger and travel writer, a published author, and owns several websites. World Travel Family is the biggest. A lifetime of wanderlust and over 6 years of full-time travel, plus a separate 12 month gap year, has given Alyson and the family some travel expert smarts to share with you on this world travel site. Today Alyson still travels extensively to update this site and continue her mission to visit every country, but she's often at home on her farm in Australia.

10 thoughts on “Places to Visit in South Wales”

  1. Such a lovely post! I’m lucky enough to have a friend living near Cardiff (literally looking out on Castel Coch!), so I visited quite a few of these places already. As a Gavin & Stacey fan, Barry Island was great fun! But also the Museum of Welsh Life was such a lovely surprise. I’ll be back mid-November so can’t wait to see more of South Wales. Thanks for adding some more ideas to my list 🙂

  2. How embarrassing *blush*. I was reading through these and thinking “why haven’t I seen any of these in New South Wales”. Then it hit me, I wasn’t even looking at the right country! Wales looks likes a place to visit.

  3. I was quite impressed by Cardiff Castle, and if I manage to find the opportunity to return to Wales I plan to return.

  4. Have you been to St David’s? Pembrokeshire is great with Pembroke Castle. The Royal Welsh Show is on in a couple of weeks and although its on the West coast, New Quay is one of my favourite places in Wales! Love it! 🙂

  5. Wales truly is one of my favourite places. I love the Welsh accent, the refreshing views and the wonderful pace of life you get in the countryside.

    It’s where I had the most relaxing holiday of my life. We stayed in a tiny cottage in the woods, tucked away behind a hill but still within easy reach of the sea, so we could hear the crashing waves. It was pure bliss.


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